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A Sudden Headache Could be a New Sign of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) shows a number of signs once it invades the body. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the loss of smell/taste, high fever, dry cough, body aches, and breathing difficulties as standard symptoms of the disease progression. However, health experts believe that unexplained headaches can also be added as a new sign of COVID-19. In addition to this, the case reports confirm that COVID-19 is also causing neurological effects for example stroke as well as encephalitis in some patients.

Several COVID-19 patients have confirmed a sharp headache with or without other neurological signs. But among all neurological symptoms, only this headache is common among the majority of patients especially those who ended up with a stroke, encephalitis, or other conditions.

Also read- Smell Training can help to recover Loss of Smell in COVID-19 Patients

The new study published in Headache explains headache as a new sign of COVID-19. The researchers from the Institute of Human Behavior along with Allied Sciences (India) confirmed it through a patient case. This case reported a 15-year young boy who reached hospital emergency complaining of an extreme headache.

This boy was experiencing throbbing pain which shows up every few minutes. In addition to pain, he was also feeling sensitivity to bright lights and nausea. He said that his condition is worse ever since he woke up in the morning and didn’t get any better afterward. Surprisingly, he didn’t have any respiratory symptoms for example dry cough, breathing issues, or loss of smell.

After evaluating him, it turned out that he has no fever either. Even his brain scans and eye exam didn’t show any problem and his blood tests were normal too.

The only thing that the doctors were able to find suspicious is that his cerebrospinal fluid showed an increased pressure. His tests against the mumps virus, enterovirus, and varicella virus all came negative. The boy was put on intravenous support and a combination of standard pain killers.

After five days of the treatment, the boy experienced no symptoms but his severe headache wasn’t going away. Additionally, his body stopped responding to the pain-relieving medicines that he was taking.

Due to the high COVID-19 spread, doctors test is nasal swabs and throat swabs for COVID-19 test. They were astonished to see that his test showed he was Covid positive. However, his cerebrospinal fluid showed no virus.

Another test of the fluid reported a slight increase in water, along with two lymphocytes.  After this, the doctors gave him a second lumbar puncture, and miraculously, the headache was reduced. After that, he was treated with a combination of medicines for two weeks. After completing the third week in the hospital finally he recovered completely with no headache or any other sign.

Also read- Pharma Giant Novavax Postpones Phase 3 Clinical Trials of Its COVID-19 Vaccine

This unique case has presented a new sign of COVID-19 which is an unexplained headache. There are a number of case reports where patients exhibited unusual Covid signs. Interestingly, up to 14% of these patients experience headaches.  But it has not been added to the standard symptoms of COVID-19.

However, his cerebrospinal fluid showed no virus. Another test of the fluid reported a slight increase in water, along with two lymphocytes.  After this, the doctors gave him a second lumbar puncture, and miraculously, the headache was reduced. After that, he was treated with a combination of medicines for two weeks. After completing the third week in the hospital finally he recovered completely with no headache or any other sign.

This unique case has presented a new sign of COVID-19 which is an unexplained headache. There are a number of case reports where patients exhibited unusual Covid signs. Interestingly, up to 14% of these patients experience headaches.  But it has not been added to the standard symptoms of COVID-19.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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